Aussie admits being obsessed and still hurt
To be quite honest, I don’t even know if I will ever get over Bermuda. Jimmy Spithill
s speculation over Oracle Team USA’s future in the America’s Cup swirls, skipper Jimmy Spithill has reaffirmed his desire to remain in the game.
In an interview to be aired today, the 38- year- old Australian tells Newstalk ZB’s Tony Veitch he does not want the devastating 7- 1 loss to Team New Zealand in Bermuda to be the last act of his storied Cup career.
Renowned British sailing scribe Bob Fisher, writing for Yachts and Yachting, reported Oracle founder Larry Ellison was set to walk away from the America’s Cup. Fisher said he got confirmation from Russell Coutts via email. “My understanding is that Oracle/ Larry will not be entering,” Coutts wrote.
Spithill would not be drawn on the speculation over Ellison’s plans, saying his exit was not a “fact” – yet. “I think until you hear it from Larry himself, or an official reply from Larry himself . . . it’s probably a fact then,” Spithill told Veitch on Sport.
Regardless of whether Oracle Team USA will enter the next event, set to be in Auckland in 2021, Spithill is determined to compete. “I would love to see Larry back in the game . . . either way I want back in.”
The ultra- competitive Australian, famed for his Kiwi- baiting antics during the America’s Cup press conferences, said he is still stung by the loss to Team New Zealand and even now, months later, finds himself reflecting on the four- year campaign and some of the decisions made.
“To be quite honest, I don’t even know if I will ever get over Bermuda, but I can’t leave it like that,” said Spithill. “I love the game. I’m pretty much obsessed with it and, for sure, my plan is to try and get back there, and I’m sure you guys would love to hear, get that Cup back off New Zealand.”
With Spithill being among a handful of top- name Australian sailors to feature in this year’s America’s Cup, there has been talk of an Australian syndicate returning to the event for the next edition. But Spithill deftly dodged questions over whether he was in talks with potential backers of an Australian syndicate, saying everyone is playing the waiting game until TNZ announce their plans for the 36th America’s Cup.
“A lot of people who have either been in the America’s Cup game, or potential owners of founders of teams who are thinking about coming back into the Cup game.
“You can’t really make any official statement until you know where the goal posts are,” he said. “Until everyone gets to read and see the Protocol it’s probably unlikely that you would get too many official responses from anyone interested in the game.”
Team New Zealand are expected to unveil their plans for the next America’s Cup later this month following a complicated negotiation process with challenger of record, Luna Rossa.
Some of their broader plans have already been outlined, however, including the decision to return to a monohulls.
Spithill, a staunch advocate of the high- speed foiling catamarans that have been used in the last t wo editions of the Cup, was diplomatic when asked his views on the shift back to monohulls.
“If you asked any of the sailors out there, they would say the foiling cats were amazing, incredible. All of us that were fortunate enough to sail those AC50s are having huge withdrawals now, because you take it for granted being able to get out there on a boat like that . . . man, just pushing your boat and yourself to the limit,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, whatever my opinion is, the fact is we all signed up knowing whoever won the America’s Cup gets to shape the next event.
“That has always been the case and that’s not something new,” Spithill told Veitch.
“Whatever happens — and it sounds like it’ll be back in a monohull — I started my America’s Cup career in New Zealand, I’ve spent a lot of time there . . . and let’s face it, it’s just such a fantastic venue for it, because people are just so into it, and so passionate about it.” Listen to Jimmy Spithill’s interview with Tony Veitch at 1pm on Newstalk ZB.
Dana Johannsen Kiwi- baiting Aussie skipper Jimmy Spithill wants to be part of an America’s Cup challenge off Auckland.